Integrity Legal

8th August 2009

The government of the Kingdom of Thailand has announced that they will be launching investigations into the buying of agricultural Thai real estate by foreign nationals in the Kingdom of Thailand.  Apparently there have been rumblings among the Thai farming community concerning an influx of foreigners buying land in Thailand in order to grow crops for eventual sale on the open market.

Many individuals are concerned that a foreigner will use a Thai company to own land and thereby circumvent the laws on the books regarding foreign real estate ownership. The Nation Newspaper in conjunction with ThaiVisa.com is reporting on the issue, to quote their article:

“Concerned Thai officials will continue monitoring whether foreigners have violated law on buying or renting farmland to engage in agriculture in the kingdom although initial investigation found that such a practice does not exist, Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said on Saturday…Farming as an occupation is reserved for Thais only and the probe was conducted following an outcry by some farmers that foreigners have bought numerous plots of farmland here and hired farmers to provide the labour.”

People moving to Thailand or wishing to live part time in the Kingdom should be aware of the somewhat xenophobic attitude of many Thai people when it comes to the subject of Thai property law. Regulations regarding Thai real estate reflect a negative attitude toward foreign ownership of Thai property. Many Thai people consider Thai property ownership to be a right that ought to be held in reserve for Thai citizens. That being said, there are exceptions to this general mood. Most Thai people do not see a problem allowing foreign nationals to own a Thai Condo in freehold. Further, obtaining a Yellow Tabien Baan (foreign house registration booklet) is becoming somewhat commonplace. However, this nonchalance does not extend to feelings regarding ownership of farm land and Thai government policy is a reflection of these feelings.

Evidence of this attitude can be found throughout the Thai foreign business act. A Thai company that is owned by a foreign national is specifically barred from engaging in business activities involving Thai farming. Even the US-Thai Treaty of Amity specifically precludes land ownership and agricultural activity. An Amity Treaty Company, although accorded preferential “national treatment,” is still subject to somewhat stringent regulation regarding Thai agriculture.

With the current global economy still in a somewhat less than optimal condition, it seems logical to assume that these restrictive measures will remain part of the law of the Kingdom of Thailand. It does not seem likely that the Thai government will allow foreigners to engage in farming activities in the near future.


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